Mapping the supply network and resource constraints of publicly funded university research commercial transfer within Australia

PhD Thesis


Ross, Pauline Joanne. 2021. Mapping the supply network and resource constraints of publicly funded university research commercial transfer within Australia. PhD Thesis Doctor of Philosophy. University of Southern Queensland. https://doi.org/10.26192/q7049
Title

Mapping the supply network and resource constraints of publicly funded university research commercial transfer within Australia

TypePhD Thesis
Authors
AuthorRoss, Pauline Joanne
Supervisor
1. FirstA/Pr Steven Goh
2. SecondEric Kong
Institution of OriginUniversity of Southern Queensland
Qualification NameDoctor of Philosophy
Number of Pages258
Year2021
PublisherUniversity of Southern Queensland
Place of PublicationAustralia
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.26192/q7049
Abstract

Government and academic literature support a common axiom that publicly funded research undertaken in Australian universities leads directly to an outcome available for industry to commercially develop. The revenue from commercial transfer of research only represents 7% of an Australian university's operating budget and supports Australia's low global innovation transfer ranking. To lift this low ranking, the Australian Government seeks an increase in the rate of university research that is converted to Intellectual Property for commercial transfer, triggering change in the university system to improve commercial output. Despite vast research on industry university collaboration and commercialisation, this research has found there is little work undertaken on the alignment of the university system to support the changed expectations.

This research employed a methodology of multiple case study analysis using the Theory of Constraints Thinking Process to establish constraints in the system that hinder the commercial transfer of university research to industry. An investigation into published governing documents including Government directives (i.e. requirements of reporting), Acts of Incorporation, Strategic Plans and Policies of the University and interviews with system stakeholders revealed a mismatch in the synergy of both the governing documents and the stakeholder intent resulting in the identification of conflicting stakeholder goals and a primary constraint of governance misalignment. This research identified a system that is atypical, with a plural of customer and constraining factors of multiple independent goals within the system causing instances of practice dominance; siloed activities, passive attitudes; no singular customer focus; and stakeholders with little knowledge or interest in the whole system.

This research established that the system of university research commercialisation is doing exactly what it is designed by its Acts and Policies, specifically, teach, research and occasionally commercially transfer the results when the opportunity arises. However, a governmental push for greater commercial transfer seeks a new outcome from this system. This research supports a radical change in the atypical system of Australian university research to ensure process support for commercial transfer of research outcomes into industry, and in turn, address Australia's low research transfer rate. The change requires legislative reform enabling a change in intent of the university research process itself, by legislating industry to take the lead in the research funding partnership with a university supporting an industry pull environment for outcome of research and, in turn, satisfy growth in Australia's research transfer as a nation.

Keywordsuniversity research, commercial transfer, commercialisation, theory of constraints, systems, governance
ANZSRC Field of Research 2020390303. Higher education
Public Notes

File reproduced in accordance with the copyright policy of the publisher/author.

Byline AffiliationsCentre for Future Materials
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